-Sera Grace John, I Year B.A. English
Au Revoir, Paalam, Adios, Alwida, Zaijian, Ma’asalama, Proshchay, Subham, Totsiens – a million words but a single meaning – Goodbye! This seven lettered English word is the universal epitome of an inevitable emotion humanity faces, although in different wavelengths and dimensions.
The matter of this differing form is often connoted to separation, be it permanent or transitory. But all goodbyes, even the most morbid one is temporary and is a transition to something different. Hearing the word reminds us of hand-waving gestures and tear-torn cheeks, or smiles spilling wishes. It doesn’t mean just parting and missing. Semiotically, waving hands signal “I’m always here for you“, “Until next time”, “Don’t forget me” and the like. It’s just a brief span of separation and may not always be a forever. It often entails hope.
True, it’s just one side of the coin that can relieve and help one believe that some goodbyes can be good enough. But like it or not, all goodbyes are not good – when it becomes a red card shown to a friend, or when it signals a break up in a relationship, when it is mumbled amid whimpers as someone leaves someone, something or somewhere beloved, when it becomes the last words of a dying dear, never to come back. In such situations, hearing this word puts a lump right in your heart and makes you sink under the heaviness.
At times, it makes you sob or even wail, sometimes it leads to perennial hugs and yet other times it makes your capillaries turn numb. But when goodbye incarnates itself as a big fat full stop on your notepad, drag it down to make a comma and continue writing the rest of your tale of life.
‘Cause after all, goodbyes are not stops, they’re pauses!